By Hillary Asbury

I love nativity scenes. I love the art of them, that they are all so unique. Whether made from a mold or hand carved, these small sculptures become interactive artwork when we set them out, recreating the scene as we like. This is liturgical art at its best: artwork which tells a story loud and clear. We always have Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child. Often we have a donkey, there to tell us what sort of conditions Jesus was born under. Almost always we have wise men, bowing and offering their gifts. Sometimes there is a shepherd, a sheep, and an angel to tell the story of the shepherds in the fields who were visited by angels heralding the birth of our Lord. Together, these pieces come together to tell a familiar Christmas story, and when most of us look at them, we know exactly what they mean.

By Hillary Asbury

The Annunciation is a very common subject in classical art.

Almost every Medieval and Renaissance master painted their own version of this scene, and its easy to understand why. It centers around one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of our faith: the virgin conception of our Lord. It depicts a moment which not only signals the advent of our hope and salvation, but also one which is rich with potential for creative exploration.